Centre-left squeeks ahead of centre-right in Romania polls

Bucharest  - Romania's centre-left Social Democrats (PSD) were leading the centre-right Democratic Liberals (PDL) of President Traian Basescu by less than a percentage point in the country's parliamentary elections Monday.

With 99.62 per cent of Sunday's ballots counted, figures released by the Central Electoral Commission gave the Social Democrats' 33.09 per cent in the lower house compared to Basescu's PDL 32.34 per cent.

In the Senate, the PSD collected 34.12 per cent, while the PDL garnered 33.57 per cent.

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu's National Liberal Party languished in third place with 18.57 per cent in the lower house and 18.75 per cent in the Senate.

With 6.18 and 6.41 per cent in the lower and upper houses respectively, previous coalition member the UDMR - representing the Hungarian minority - barely squeezed back into parliament.

And for the first time in its 16-year history, the Romania's ultranationalist party failed to clear the 5-per-cent hurdle and will not be represented in parliament.

Voter turnout was reported at under 40 per cent, the lowest in Romania since the fall of communism. The official end results are expected by the end of the week. (dpa)